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Mobile Microrobotics Challenge

Motivation

Recent advances in the design and fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) have enabled the development of mobile microrobots that can autonomously navigate and manipulate in controlled environments. It is expected that this technology will be critical in applications as varied as intelligent sensor networks, in vivo medical diagnosis and treatment, and adaptive microelectronics.

However, many challenges remain, particularly with respect to locomotion, power storage, embedded intelligence, and motion measurement. As a result, NIST has organized performance-based competitions for mobile microrobots that are designed to: 1) motivate researchers to accelerate microrobot development, 2) reveal the most pressing technical challenges, and 3) evaluate the most successful methods for locomotion and manipulation at the microscale (e.g., actuation techniques for crawling).

NIST Mobile Microrobotics Challenge 2012

Challenge Call for Participants (pdf)

Challenge Rules (pdf)

Previous Challenges

Results from 2011 Challenge

Mobility

  Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3   Final Score Place
France 1.867 2.104 2.637   2.226 1
Univ. of Hawaii 39.580 33.444 32.654   35.362 2
Univ. of Waterloo 120.000 25.770 24.959   72.312 3
Stevens Inst. of Tech. 120.000 62.018 120.000   104.317 4
Italian Inst. of Tech 120.000 120.000 120.000   120.000 5
Univ. of Maryland 120.000 120.000 120.000   120.000 5
Univ. of Texas at Arlington 120.000 120.000 120.000   120.000 5

Microassembly
  Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3   Final Score Place
University of Waterloo 0.000 78.000 0.000   45.033 1
Stevens Inst. of Tech. 0.000 0.000 0.000   0.000 2
France 0.000 0.000 0.000   0.000 2
Univ. of Hawaii 0.000 0.000 0.000   0.000 2
Italian Inst. of Tech. 0.000 0.000 0.000   0.000 2
Univ. of Texas at Arlington 0.000 0.000 0.000   0.000 2
Univ. of Maryland 0.000 0.000 0.000   0.000 2

Press release

Official Rules - NIST Mobile Microrobotics Challenge

Details about the 2010 competition are available here.

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Nanogram Figure 2
Microrobots from past competitions: a) hard magnet (Carnegie Mellon), b) polymer-based electrostatic (Simon Fraser), c) resonant electromagnetic (ETH Zurich), and d) electrostatic (US Naval Academy)
Contact

Jason Gorman, EL
301-975-3446, Telephone
100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8230
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8230

Craig McGray, PML
301-975-4110, Telephone
100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8120
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8120

Richard Allen, PML